"Swim and Play Pass Program" encourages youth to avoid Albuquerque's deadly ditches and arroyos.
Free Swim Passes
Task Force Information
For more information on the Ditch and Water Safety Task Force:
- Website - Ditches are Deadly
- Telephone - (505) 764-4444 ext. 241
Children are out of school for the summer, which means they will be looking for things to do during the summer months, often that means playing in area ditches and arroyos.
Ditch and arroyo safety will and should be a top concern for parents and public safety departments as June will begin the summer monsoon season.
The Swim and Play Pass Program is organized by the Ditch and Water Safety Task Force, a multi-agency task force dedicated to educating residents in Albuquerque and the surrounding areas about the dangers of ditches and arroyos.
The program, now in its 17th year, is specifically designed to encourage children to play safe by swimming in community pools or skating at city parks, rather than in ditches and arroyos.
Free swim passes will be available on Friday, May 31, until supplies last at the following locations:
- Albuquerque Police Substations and Fire Stations
- Albuquerque City Pools
- Bernalillo County Sheriff Substations and Fire Stations
- KOB TV Studios
- Mechanical Concepts
What's the Danger?
Although arroyos and ditches can appear harmless, it's important to remember that a flash flood, New Mexico's number one natural disaster, can occur at any moment. Drowning victims have ranged in age from two to 87 years old.
Ditch & Arroyo Information
- Ditches are mudlined waterways that run north to south, parallel to the Rio Grande River.
- Their purpose is to move irrigation water.
- They are usually filled with water from March 1 to Oct. 31 of every year.
- The water in ditches can move up to 20 miles an hour.
- Some ditches have undertows. If you're caught in one of these your chances of getting out of are very slim.
- Many ditches contain debris such as glass and barbed wire.
- There are often dead animals in the ditches.
- Bridges over the ditch can be slippery or possibly rusted.
- The banks of ditches are very slippery - if someone falls in, they can't easily get out!
Ditch & Water Safety
The Ditch & Water Safety Task Force is an organization dedicated to eliminating ditch and arroyo injuries and deaths through education. Formed in 1983, members include the city and county agencies listed below.
- Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority (AMAFCA)
- Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District
- Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority (SSCAFCA)
- City of Albuquerque
- Bernalillo County
The task force's goal is to maintain zero drownings in the ditch and arroyo systems. This is accomplished by making over 100 safety presentations per year to elementary schools, middle schools and adult organizations and participation in special events throughout the year.